Slate is a metamorphic rock which is fine grained and made up of quartz, chlorite, mica & calcite. It is formed when ocean or riverbed sediments are compressed and heated by the earth’s crust. Most slate floor tiles come from Brazil, Vermont, China and India, although traditional Welsh slate is still available (at a price!). Brazilian and Vermont slates tend to have a low absorption rate, while Indian and Chinese can have extremely variable absorption rates. Slate floors make for beautiful flooring. With proper preparation and care they will keep looking great for years to come.
If you can’t decide if you should seal your new slate tiles before installing them, error on the side of caution. Sealing them may not be necessary, but after you have installed them it will be a headache to seal them properly. And you may not be able to protect them soon enough, if they are porous and absorb stains. Sealing is also important if you want a shiny or matte finish.
From rustic slates with more riven surfaces, to very smooth calibrated slates that give you that natural feeling without the riven texture, slate floors can be both traditional and contemporary. They are suitable for both domestic use in kitchens, conservatories and patios and commercial uses such as bars. Maintaining and cleaning your slate floor is very easy. Just mop it with a mild soap and water, and dry mop or vacuum it in between washings. If you are accustomed to waxing floors you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise as it’s not necessary for slate. Wax won’t hurt the slate, but will obscure it’s natural beauty, turn the tiles a darker shade, and may yellow the grout – all good reasons to not bother waxing your floor.